2011 STP

I'm typing this post one-handed due to a broken collar bone. About an hour into the ride, in Renton, I was second in a paceline. As we approached an intersection, a car approached from the right and our light changed to yellow. I think the guy in front of me was trying to decide whether or not to proceed, then he suddenly decided to stop. I was looking at the same car for just an instant and when my attention returned to the paceline leader, he had come to a rapid stop and I didn't have time to react.

I slammed into his left side pretty violently. I don't recall my exact trajectory but I apparently landed straight on my left side, I think I rolled a bit too. When I stopped, I was laying on my right side and I knew immediately that my collar bone was broken. It took me a while to get up.

One of the other riders helped me up and then called 911. First the police, then the firefighters, then the ambulance arrived. I wound up at Valley Medical Center where they did the usual tests & cleanup. I called my dad and he came down to pick me up and get me on Amtrak back home.

The leader was in pretty poor shape too. When I hit him I either broke or at least separated one of his ribs. He told me that he was having difficulty taking a deep breath and he was quitting the ride to head back home.

Holy cow did my helmet take a hit. The next day I noticed bruising & tenderness in the area of my left temple and if that was the impact point then the helmet spared me some serious dain bramage. Looking at the helmet it is obviously broken, but it fulfilled its prime directive by sacrificing itself for me.

Damage to the bike was several broken spokes in the front wheel and two of my brand-new brake pads were knocked out and missing. My favorite jersey got scuffed a bit in the back where I was carrying my spare tire, my saddle was torn up too. I haven't had a chance to go over the rest of the bike yet. Unfortunately I was too wrapped up in my own problems to ask what damage the other rider had but I think he was changing a flat tire as I rolled out in the ambulance.

So I'm off the bike for 4 to 6 weeks. I'll be getting on the trainer shortly, hopefully I can keep some of my fitness.

Lessons learned:

1. Trust no one unless you've ridden with them before. I got caught up in the excitement of my first STP when I should have instead contacted my regular riding buddies and left with them.

2. Don't get caught up in the excitement. I don't know if I'll even bother trying to do the STP in the future, I feel that I spent a lot of money for a pretty bad experience


McKenzie Pass

What a gorgeous ride. I had never done this before and am glad I got the chance. Three of us went up Saturday morning. The sky was crystal clear so we slathered on the sunscreen before leaving the Blue River Ranger Station.

The climb up was never steep, it was just relentless. Looking at the profile in Ascent, I think there's a stretch of at least 12 miles with literally not a single level spot on it. It certainly felt that way.

The view from the top was stunning. We climbed up to the very top of the observatory and hammed it up a bit:


Kevin: King of the Mountain

"I'm on top of the world Ma!"

We then headed down the other side to Sisters. I got ahead of the group and was blasting down the road. I glanced down to check my GPS and when I looked up the (closed) gate was practically right in front of me.

Oh snap.

Well, I obviously managed to stop in time but if I hadn't, the two riders just on the other side of the gate would have quite the story to tell of 'the time this guy flew 50 feet after hitting the gate!'

We made it in to Sisters and stopped to sit a bit, eat, and refill our water bottles. Then it was back on the road and upwards.

Kevin got a flat so Dave and I waited for him at the gate and then went up to the summit again. I still had a little pep in the legs so I tried to pick off all the rabbits and managed to get all but one.

We started back down with a group and I took the opportunity to ride with descenders that were much more skilled than I. I don't think I've ever had that much fun on a bike before, descending through the technical switchbacks in a fairly large group.

On the way back we stopped for pizza & beer, the perfect end to a perfect day.